Status: 11/9/2021 4:44 p.m.
In the summer, the first refugees appeared in the forests of Mecklenburg Western Pomerania. The region is now part of an international escape route – in which human dignity hardly plays a role.
At first glance, everything looks the same in the 300-souls village of Plöwen. Poland is only a stone’s throw away here, the sugar beets are brought into the fields and the Sunday bread rolls are delivered by the bakery truck. In fact, a helicopter has been circling over the woods almost every day for a good two months. And the farmer Emanuel Reim greets border police officers in patrol cars on the way to his fields every day.
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has become part of a new escape route that begins at airports such as Dubai and leads to Farmer Reim’s fields.
Refugee Ahmad: from Iraq via Dubai to Minsk
Always along the border
The 34-year-old has his fields east of Pasewalk. “Always along the border in principle,” he says. Several times people have climbed the border fence that was erected because of the African swine fever. Sometimes people were abandoned by a multivan right on the village green in front of his company. “So it’s hard to grasp for me,” he explains. How do people from the Middle East get to Belarus? And then on through Poland to Germany? “That’s relatively abstract.”
In August, the federal police found 104 “illegally entering” people on the border between Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Poland. In October there were already 754. The municipalities were initially not informed of this, criticizes Heidelore Hobom, Mayor of Plöwen. Neither the mayor nor the higher authority had found out why border police were suddenly patrolling everywhere and why people appeared in the forest out of nowhere.
The Federal Police would have had to react and organize first, defends Igor Weber from the Pasewalk Federal Police Inspectorate for the lack of communication with the affected communities. In fact, it was clear to the Federal Police from the very first questioning: “Something new is emerging here”.
Pushbacks instead of hotel accommodation
One of the people who came through this new escape route is Ahmad, who actually has a different name. He had flown from Iraq via Dubai to Minsk on a plane. With a visa. The travel agency, whose offer he found through social media posts and to which he paid $ 2,500 for the trip, had promised him hotel stays in Minsk and insurance for the trip.
In Minsk, a good three weeks ago, Ahmad immediately went to the border with Poland, where he tried to get to the other side on foot. Again and again the Polish border guards pushed him to Belarus and the Belarusians forced him back to Poland. “This ping pong” he says, “this back and forth went six times”. For a whole week. It was cold, they had nothing to eat or drink.
Heidelore Hobom, Mayor of Plöwen, criticized: There was no information why border police were patrolling everywhere.
The federal police in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania also know that smuggling is a dirty business. It’s not about people, it’s about making money. “You can see from the people that they have a lot behind them,” says Igor Weber from the Federal Police Inspectorate. Many of them would have experienced a fast transport through Poland, “which in places is very inhumane.”
Meanwhile, right-wing extremists, including the NPD MV, are calling for “border crossings”. According to the motto “Never again 2015!” people posed in camouflage clothing at border crossings or walked through the Saxon forests in a publicly effective manner. A narrative that the AfD now also serves. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the State Criminal Police Office is observing the situation, but no organized border crossing is known, it said when asked. Only one photo of the right-wing extremist group “AKK Seenplatte” can be found on the net, which was photographed at the Usedom border crossing.
The mayor of Plöwen, Hobom, does not believe that there will be such “border crossings” in Mecklenburg Western Pomerania as in Saxony or Brandenburg. “They come from the forest and are picked up by the police,” she says. In addition, the Federal Police are very active here and the problems are also others: “We are a region that is not very well blessed. Neither with jobs, nor with wages, nor with income. And I guess that’s actually much more like that Point.”
Farmer Reim also sees that there has been a latent xenophobic mood here since 2015. But actually they have nothing to do with the problem here, because the refugees who are now being picked up did not stay here. The latent dissatisfaction of the people sometimes affects “such problems” too. He couldn’t really understand that.